Caption: (left to right) Allan St. Pierre, Alexandra Hauser, and Jayden Hsiao
Student representation at the boardroom table will grow from two to three in 2018-19 as Grand Erie District School Board welcomes its first Indigenous Student Trustee following the selection of all Student Trustee positions at last month’s Student Senate meeting.
Allan St. Pierre, a Grade 12 student from Tollgate Technological Skills Centre, was elected as the first Indigenous Student Trustee. Alexandra Hauser, a Grade 10 student from McKinnon Park Secondary School, was elected to represent the south region of Grand Erie. Jayden Hsiao, a Grade 11 student from Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School, was elected to represent the north.
St. Pierre is a familiar face in the boardroom, having received Grand Erie’s Student Recognition award in October 2017 for his community involvement, and said he was both nervous and excited about representing Indigenous students on the board.
“I think this is a huge deal,” said St. Pierre. “Selecting an Indigenous Student Trustee is moving forward. I want Indigenous students to know it’s okay to speak up. I want them to know that I’m listening, that we can make change and implement it.”
Hauser echoed St. Pierre’s comments and said she hoped his selection would allow for “Indigenous students to feel more powerful, like they have more of a say in what happens because they are a huge part of Grand Erie.”
Hauser also said she wanted all Grand Erie students to feel like their voices could be heard, not just secondary school students.
“Student Trustees represent everyone – they represented me all the way through elementary school – and I want them to know I’m here, and that if they have an issue, they can bring it forward.”
Hsiao, brother of 2017-18 Student Trustee Jeriann Hsiao, said he’s learned a lot from speaking to his sister about the role.
“It’s obviously a really cool opportunity,” said Hsiao. “With my sister being the previous Student Trustee, she’s told me a lot about how great it is to have such an influence in your community – how to represent your school and yourself – and to have a little bit of fun as well.”
St. Pierre, Hauser and Hsiao will begin their terms in August 2018.
Grand Erie updated its Student Trustee Bylaw in February to allow for an Indigenous Student Trustee. Elections for all Student Trustee positions are held in April every year.
“Having an Indigenous Student Trustee at the table was an obvious next step for our board,” said Brenda Blancher, Director of Education. “It’s also an important part of our journey towards reconciliation. Indigenous student voices need to be heard along with our other Student Trustees. Our Indigenous students and their families are an important part of our Grand Erie community and we want to work together with them in true partnership throughout our board.”
The selection of Student Trustees supports the Achievement indicator of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan and Success for Every Student through the following statement: “We will set high expectations for our students and staff.” The inclusion of an Indigenous Student Trustee also supports the Equity indicator and the following statement: “We will promote practices that help students, families and staff feel safe, welcomed and included.”